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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE EXERCISES                             165

in guessing. On one occasion one of the teachers presented to
me a little girl of three, that is, one of the smallest, who had been
in the habit of repeating the exercise perfectly. We placed the
little one comfortably in her armchair close to the table; we put
the twenty-four objects on the table, mixing them together; and
after having called her attention to their shape, we asked her to
place the cubes on the right and the bricks on the left. Having
been blindfolded, she began the exercise as we teach it, that is,
taking up by chance two objects with the two hands at the same
time, feeling them all over and putting them into their places*
Sometimes she picked up two cubes, sometimes two bricks, or a
brick in the right hand and a cube in the left. The child had to
recognize the form and remember throughout the exercise the
position assigned to the different objects. That seemed to me
very difficult for a child three years of age.

But as I watched her I noticed that she not only carried out
the exercise very easily, but also that she did not require to explore
the objects by feeling them. In fact, directly she took up the two
objects, handling them with a very light touch because she was a
child rather graceful and elegant in her actions, if it happened that
the brick was in her. right hand and the cube in her left, she
immediately exchanged them, then began the laborious stroking
with the hand as she had been taught, wliich she regarded as a
duty; but the objects had akeady been recognized by her solely
by touching them lightly, that is, the recognition took place directly
she took them up. Studying the subject afterwards, I realized that
the child possessed functional ambidextry, which is very common
among children of three or four years old, but which disappears later.
I then had the exercise repeated by more children and found that
they recognized the objects before feeling them over, and that this
happened often among the smaller children. Our educational
methods therefore constituted wonderful practice in association,
and were admirably adapted to the age of childhood.

These exercises in the stereognostic sense may be extended
a great deal and amuse the children greatly, because they